12 students along with two faculty and staff members of the Myers – Lawson School of Construction flew to Reno, Nevada to compete at the Associated Schools of Construction 2018 Student Competition and Construction Management Conference. Virginia Tech was one out of 49 participating universities and the Concrete Solutions and Project Management Teams were just two of 195 total participating teams. The students in the Concrete Solutions team were Stevie Keesling, Daniel Whitley, Allie Jo Vogrig, Eric Matteson, Tim Reynolds and Joe Keffler. The students on the Project Management Team were Joe O’Neal, Bryan Billings, Connor Rogers, Brandon Rabinowitz, Eric Heinemann and Matt O’Neill. The two teams, composed of students majoring in Building Construction and Construction Engineering and Management, placed second at the competition. Each team is given under 24 hours to complete and submit a deliverable to their given sponsor.
The Concrete Solutions team was sponsored by SUNDT, a construction company based out of Tucson, Arizona. Their project consisted of a 12 story hotel tower located in the southwest desert. They had twelve hours to create a schedule, means and methods, quantity takeoff, full estimate and a full safety plan with site specific safety information. The next day, the Concrete Solutions Team presented their proposal to a panel of six SUNDT employees.
“This competition is always one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. Preparing a proposal for concrete scope of work is exactly what my future career will consist of,” Allie Jo Vogrig, a Construction Engineering and Management student on the Concrete Solutions team said. Normally, a project team consists of six individuals and they are given a couple of months to compile a proposal. “Having to complete a proposal in just 12 hours is something you really have to work hard and prepare for. This experience, where it may be high stress, challenges us to work together, communicate, and apply what we learn in class and by ourselves to real world scenarios,” Vogrig said.
The Project Management Team was sponsored by DPR Construction, a construction management firm based in Redwood City, California. Their task was to act as if they were employees of DPR and give their reasoning on whether they should or should not pursue a specific project. “We had 14 hours to analyze the project based on how risky it is for the company. For big companies, like DPR, they do not want to take on a project that is going to hurt them financially or affect them in a negative way,” Joe O’Neal, a Building Construction student on the Project Management Team said. The competition focuses heavily on contract law and risk assessment, which a majority of the Project Management Team had very limited exposure on these topics. They spent extra time out of the classroom acquiring the skill sets for risk assessment and contract law to prepare for the competition. “I was blown away. It was so much to learn. These individuals had never been in this division before and they worked so hard preparing cohesively. They placed second out of eleven teams. They really overachieved,” Dr. Bob Muir, CEM Coordinator and Professor of Practice at the Myers – Lawson School of Construction said.
The objectives that the students and staff created for the competition beforehand were to represent Virginia Tech and the Myers-Lawson School of Construction in the finest fashion, grow individually and collectively as construction professionals, and to have fun. “I was so proud of all of them before we ever left Blacksburg because of their work ethic, level of preparation, and dedication to this competition. It was very gratifying to see the way they responded to this challenge. During a debriefing after the competition, I reflected upon how well all these individuals represent the Hokie Nation. Not only are they doing well technically in the competition, but also professionally in all situations,” Muir said.